Burundi Protests
A protester throws fuel on a shop kiosk dragged into the road to form a barricade in the Cibitoke neighborhood of Bujumbura on May 7, 2015. Photographer: Phil Moore /AFP via Getty Images
 

Protests in African countries from Burkina Faso to Burundi have been sparked by youthful populations with little hope of employment and by leaders who have in some cases ruled for decades.

The discontent, which began in Burkina Faso in October, spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo in January, and has now crossed the continent to Burundi, prompting regional leaders to call an emergency meeting after two weeks of protests and at least 14 deaths. Mass demonstrations in Burkina Faso ended Blaise Compaore’s 27 years in power.

“Underpinning a lot of these protests is anger about stalled development, rising food prices and cutting fuel subsidies,” Clive Gabay, an expert on African politics at the Queen Mary University of London, said. “You have this youthful, unemployed population that has been sidelined.”

While sub-Saharan Africa has grown faster than every region except developing Asia in the past 10 years, there aren’t enough jobs for the 1 billion people on the continent. An extra 450 million jobs need to be created in the next 20 years to match the expansion in the number of working-age people in the region, the International Monetary Fund said last month.

Monitoring Elections

About 40 percent of people in Africa are under 15 years old, the most of any region, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The unemployment rate for people 15 to 25 years old living in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, is three times higher than the rest of the working population, according to the African Development Bank.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has warned that the violence in neighboring Burundi threatens stability in East Africa. Youths have led two weeks of protests to prevent President Pierre Nkurunziza from seeking a third term in office next month. The Constitutional Court approved his request, despite the opposition claiming it violates a 15-year-old peace agreement that sets a two-term limit. Nkurunziza submitted his candidacy for the June 26 vote to the electoral commission on Friday.

The nations that will probably watch closely what happens in Burundi are those with elections scheduled in the next two years, said Yolande Bouka, a researcher on conflict prevention at the Institute for Security Studies in Johannesburg. Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania and Uganda all have polls during that period.

Protest Risk

There is “serious discontent with the type of governance offered by the leaders,” Bouka said. Given the large youth population and unemployment rate “it is not surprising that people take to the street to address unresponsive government.”

Burundi ranks eighth-lowest on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures indicators such as income, child mortality and education. Congo is second-to-last on the 190-member list.

“In many countries it’s a risky thing to go on a protest and you’re not going to risk getting arrested or shot unless there’s something real at stake,” Gabay said. “There’s something else that’s propelling people onto the street and for me they’re economic issues.”

Using social media like Twitter and Facebook, young activists can mobilize faster than in years gone by and can collaborate across borders. The movements in Congo and Burkina Faso draw inspiration from Senegalese artists, who began protests in 2011 against power outages. The Senegalese movement was key in mobilizing youth to vote President Abdoulaye Wade, who had ruled for 12 years, out of power a year later.

Life Presidents

Demonstrations erupted in Congo in January when lawmakers tried to change electoral laws in a way that could have delayed elections. That would have extended the 14-year rule of President Joseph Kabila, who took over when his father was assassinated in 2001.

Congolese activists met with artists and musicians from Senegal and Burkina Faso in March. The police arrested them in the Congolese capital and accused them of “promoting violence.” Kabila, who faced criticism from international rights monitors including New York-based Human Rights Watch, said he will not run for office next year.

While there are countries in sub-Saharan Africa with leaders who have been in power for more than three decades, including Zimbabwe, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, political opposition groups there say they are suppressed.

Rwanda’s Kagame, who has been president since 2000, also hasn’t faced popular opposition as he says he is open to staying another term. Parliament is reviewing a petition signed by 2 million people who support changing the constitution to allow for a third term.

“African people are tired of presidents who aren’t delivering to their people and they’re tired of presidents who want to stay for life,” Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa director for the International Crisis Group, said by phone from Nairobi, Kenya. “There’s a sort of exasperation because governments aren’t delivering.”

Source=http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-11/protests-threatening-african-leaders-fueled-by-economic-woes

Whatisonblueorg

posted onFRI 8 MAY 2015 4:30 PM

On Monday (11 May) the Council will receive a briefing by Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on the EU response to the smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. After the briefing, Council members are expected to hold an informal interactive dialogue with her. At the request of Chad, the permanent observer of the AU to the UN, Ambassador Tete António, will also participate in these meetings.

This briefing comes after the 19 April incident in which more than 700 migrants drowned when the overcrowded boat on which they were traveling sank near Libya. According to the Integrational Organization for Migration, more than 1,700 migrants have drowned since the beginning of January in the Mediterranean Sea. In a 21 April press statement, Council members expressed grave concern at the smuggling of migrants off the coast of Libya, highlighting the implications for regional stability. On 22 April, at the request of the UK, Council members exchanged views on this issue under “any other business”.
Mogherini is expected to brief Council members on the integrated strategy by the EU to address the smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. The strategy includes the provision of bilateral development assistance to countries on the southern and eastern Mediterranean basin—as well as to countries of origin and transit—while tripling the financial resources available to operations Triton and Poseidon, currently existing in the territorial waters of EU member states. In a 20 April joint meeting of EU foreign and interior Ministers, chaired by Mogherini, the Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos of Greece presented a plan to respond to migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean, which would entail a systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers, inspired by the EU Atalanta Operation deployed to fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia. The plan was endorsed in a 23 April meeting of the EU Council, and negotiations are ongoing at the EU to agree on the Crisis Management Concept, which is the basis for operational planning and conduct of any EU mission.

Since that meeting, discussions among EU members of the Council (France, Lithuania, Spain, and the UK) and Italy on a draft resolution apparently authorising such an operation have been ongoing. It seems some permanent members have been able to provide inputs. It appears the idea is for a Chapter VII resolution that will authorise an EU operation to use all necessary measures to inspect, seize and dispose of vessels when there are grounds to believe that they are participating in the smuggling of migrants. The draft may be circulated to the wider membership of the Council in the coming days.

Although most Council members have not seen the draft text, they are aware of some of its elements and are expected to seek information that might feed into any negotiations of the draft. Council members are likely to want to know more about the expected geographical scope of the resolution (whether this includes the high seas, the territorial waters of Libya or even its shore) and whether the EU is seeking Libya’s consent. In this context, Council members might inquire about Mogherini’s recent conversations in Tunisia with Libyan political actors, and the potential impact of such an operation on the political process. Some Council members might be worried that asking for the consent of the Tobruk-based government could negatively impact the talks, which are aimed at the formation of a government of national unity.

Some Council members may echo concerns regarding the protection of human rights and international refugee law that have been raised by the Secretary-General as well as the UN High Commissioners for Human Rights and Refugees. In particular, they might ask about the fate of the migrants taken into custody, and note the importance of respecting the guarantees of international law, notably the 1951 Refugee Convention and the principle of non-refoulement. When the programme of work was adopted, a briefing by the High Commissioner for Refugees, along with the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, was being considered for some point in May. Some Council members may have expected these briefings to happen before engaging in discussions about the regional responses to the smuggling of migrants; however, at press time, it was unclear if and when they will be held.

In the past, it has been difficult to get agreement on resolutions authorising the interception of vessels, whether in the context of the implementation of sanctions or counter-piracy measures. Some Council members feel strongly about not contravening the freedom of navigation principle codified in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As such, they have tended to focus their discussions in the past on issues such as the procedures to authorise the interdiction, whether the consent of the flag state is required, and where the interdiction is authorised to happen.

A Saudi war fought with Eritrean troops?

Mohammad Abu Fares Date of publication: 8 May, 2015
Analysis: Saudi Arabia has been cosying up to Eritrea, leading to reports the African nation will join Senegal in offering troops for the war in Yemen, says Mohammad Abu Fares.

Eritrea could be the second non-Arab African nation to contribute troops to the Saudi-led alliance against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Eritrea's president Isaias Afwerki visited Riyadh last week to meet King Salman and other leading Saudi officials. This has led many to believe that Eritrea could follow Senegal's lead - the West African nation announced earlier this week that it would send 2,100 soldiers to join the Saudi alliance.

Sources in Asmara revealed to al-Araby al-Jadeed that talks between Eritrean and Saudi officials has brought them to a common understandings on a number of strategic and security related issues.

Sources expect an announcement on military cooperation between the two states, which would allow the alliance to use Eritrean airspace and seas.

It is also being said that Saudi is hoping to capitalise on the capabilities of the Eritrean armed forces.

Strategically important

Eritrea occupies an important geographically location on the Horn of Africa.

It lies just over the water from Yemen, looking over one of the most strategically important sea corridors in the world - where the Red Sea leads to the Suez Canal.

Eritrea would be an obvious launchpad for amphibious attacks if Saudi Arabia wanted to being a ground war.

Saudi Arabia has built good relations with three other Red Sea states share maritime borders with Yemen - Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Eritrea was the fourth piece in the jigsaw and has hosted foreign troops before.

Israel and Iran have military bases in Eritrea, but as the tide turns against the Tehran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, Asmara appears to be cutting ties with these countries.

"Afwerki's controversial relations have continued to be a source of angst for Saudi Arabia, which is just a strip of sea away from Eritrea," said one Arab diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous.

     Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis.http://goo.gl/UtXjhh&via=alaraby_en" class="TweetIcon">


"Saudi Arabia worries when Eritrean-Israeli relations progressed, which led to... the presence of Israeli bases in Dahlak and other Eritrean islands just off the Saudi coast. Relations between the two countries hit their lowest level."

Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis during the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

However, observers believe that Afwerki's visit to Riyadh has turned the tables and that Eritrea might be sending signals to the US that it is eager to be friends.

Influential groups in Eritrea have been suspected of supporting Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

Some African diplomats were not surprised by the turnaround. Gulf nations were said to have been heavily involved in negotiations with African countries allied to Asmara in the build up to the visit.

Qatar has been effective in leading talks between Eritrea and some of its hostile neighbours.

The diplomats believe that the talks with Saudi Arabia is an attempt by Asmara to break its international isolation.

This has been enforced through UN resolution 1907, which imposed sanctions on Eritrea over its role in Somalia and refusal to pull its troops out of Djibouti.

With 200,000 soldiers and 12,000 naval personnel, and commanders experienced from Eritrea's war with Ethiopia, the country could provide the backbone of a coalition invasion force.

The fact that they are ruled by an absolute dictator and dissent in the country has been crushed, then Eritrea would not be faced with a repeat of the Pakistani parliament's refusal to engage in Saudi's war in Yemen.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

- See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/5/8/a-saudi-war-fought-with-eritrean-troops-#sthash.2ReOM9Uj.dpuf
A Saudi war fought with Eritrean troops?

Eritrea fought Ethiopia during the 1990s [AFP]

- See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/5/8/a-saudi-war-fought-with-eritrean-troops-#sthash.MFra3qKI.dpufAnalysis: Saudi Arabia has been cosying up to Eritrea, leading to reports the African nation will join Senegal in offering troops for the war in Yemen, says Mohammad Abu Fares.

 

A Saudi war fought with Eritrean troops?

Eritrea fought Ethiopia during the 1990s [AFP]

- See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/5/8/a-saudi-war-fought-with-eritrean-troops-#sthash.2ReOM9Uj.dpufEritrea could be the second non-Arab African nation to contribute troops to the Saudi-led alliance against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Analysis: Saudi Arabia has been cosying up to Eritrea, leading to reports the African nation will join Senegal in offering troops for the war in Yemen, says Mohammad Abu Fares.

Eritrea could be the second non-Arab African nation to contribute troops to the Saudi-led alliance against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Eritrea's president Isaias Afwerki visited Riyadh last week to meet King Salman and other leading Saudi officials. This has led many to believe that Eritrea could follow Senegal's lead - the West African nation announced earlier this week that it would send 2,100 soldiers to join the Saudi alliance.

Sources in Asmara revealed to al-Araby al-Jadeed that talks between Eritrean and Saudi officials has brought them to a common understandings on a number of strategic and security related issues.

Sources expect an announcement on military cooperation between the two states, which would allow the alliance to use Eritrean airspace and seas.

It is also being said that Saudi is hoping to capitalise on the capabilities of the Eritrean armed forces.

Strategically important

Eritrea occupies an important geographically location on the Horn of Africa.

It lies just over the water from Yemen, looking over one of the most strategically important sea corridors in the world - where the Red Sea leads to the Suez Canal.

Eritrea would be an obvious launchpad for amphibious attacks if Saudi Arabia wanted to being a ground war.

Saudi Arabia has built good relations with three other Red Sea states share maritime borders with Yemen - Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Eritrea was the fourth piece in the jigsaw and has hosted foreign troops before.

Israel and Iran have military bases in Eritrea, but as the tide turns against the Tehran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, Asmara appears to be cutting ties with these countries.

"Afwerki's controversial relations have continued to be a source of angst for Saudi Arabia, which is just a strip of sea away from Eritrea," said one Arab diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous.

"Saudi Arabia worries when Eritrean-Israeli relations progressed, which led to... the presence of Israeli bases in Dahlak and other Eritrean islands just off the Saudi coast. Relations between the two countries hit their lowest level."

Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis during the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

However, observers believe that Afwerki's visit to Riyadh has turned the tables and that Eritrea might be sending signals to the US that it is eager to be friends.

Influential groups in Eritrea have been suspected of supporting Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

Some African diplomats were not surprised by the turnaround. Gulf nations were said to have been heavily involved in negotiations with African countries allied to Asmara in the build up to the visit.

Qatar has been effective in leading talks between Eritrea and some of its hostile neighbours.

The diplomats believe that the talks with Saudi Arabia is an attempt by Asmara to break its international isolation.

This has been enforced through UN resolution 1907, which imposed sanctions on Eritrea over its role in Somalia and refusal to pull its troops out of Djibouti.

With 200,000 soldiers and 12,000 naval personnel, and commanders experienced from Eritrea's war with Ethiopia, the country could provide the backbone of a coalition invasion force.

The fact that they are ruled by an absolute dictator and dissent in the country has been crushed, then Eritrea would not be faced with a repeat of the Pakistani parliament's refusal to engage in Saudi's war in Yemen.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

source=http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/5/8/a-saudi-war-fought-with-eritrean-troops-

 

 

A Saudi war fought with Eritrean troops?

By: Mohammad Abu Fares Date of publication: 8 May, 2015
Analysis: Saudi Arabia has been cosying up to Eritrea, leading to reports the African nation will join Senegal in offering troops for the war in Yemen, says Mohammad Abu Fares.

Eritrea could be the second non-Arab African nation to contribute troops to the Saudi-led alliance against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Eritrea's president Isaias Afwerki visited Riyadh last week to meet King Salman and other leading Saudi officials. This has led many to believe that Eritrea could follow Senegal's lead - the West African nation announced earlier this week that it would send 2,100 soldiers to join the Saudi alliance.

Sources in Asmara revealed to al-Araby al-Jadeed that talks between Eritrean and Saudi officials has brought them to a common understandings on a number of strategic and security related issues.

Sources expect an announcement on military cooperation between the two states, which would allow the alliance to use Eritrean airspace and seas.

It is also being said that Saudi is hoping to capitalise on the capabilities of the Eritrean armed forces.

Strategically important

Eritrea occupies an important geographically location on the Horn of Africa.

It lies just over the water from Yemen, looking over one of the most strategically important sea corridors in the world - where the Red Sea leads to the Suez Canal.

Eritrea would be an obvious launchpad for amphibious attacks if Saudi Arabia wanted to being a ground war.

Saudi Arabia has built good relations with three other Red Sea states share maritime borders with Yemen - Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Eritrea was the fourth piece in the jigsaw and has hosted foreign troops before.

Israel and Iran have military bases in Eritrea, but as the tide turns against the Tehran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, Asmara appears to be cutting ties with these countries.

"Afwerki's controversial relations have continued to be a source of angst for Saudi Arabia, which is just a strip of sea away from Eritrea," said one Arab diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous.

     Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis.


"Saudi Arabia worries when Eritrean-Israeli relations progressed, which led to... the presence of Israeli bases in Dahlak and other Eritrean islands just off the Saudi coast. Relations between the two countries hit their lowest level."

Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis during the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

However, observers believe that Afwerki's visit to Riyadh has turned the tables and that Eritrea might be sending signals to the US that it is eager to be friends.

Influential groups in Eritrea have been suspected of supporting Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

Some African diplomats were not surprised by the turnaround. Gulf nations were said to have been heavily involved in negotiations with African countries allied to Asmara in the build up to the visit.

Qatar has been effective in leading talks between Eritrea and some of its hostile neighbours.

The diplomats believe that the talks with Saudi Arabia is an attempt by Asmara to break its international isolation.

This has been enforced through UN resolution 1907, which imposed sanctions on Eritrea over its role in Somalia and refusal to pull its troops out of Djibouti.

With 200,000 soldiers and 12,000 naval personnel, and commanders experienced from Eritrea's war with Ethiopia, the country could provide the backbone of a coalition invasion force.

The fact that they are ruled by an absolute dictator and dissent in the country has been crushed, then Eritrea would not be faced with a repeat of the Pakistani parliament's refusal to engage in Saudi's war in Yemen.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

- See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/5/8/a-saudi-war-fought-with-eritrean-troops-#sthash.2ReOM9Uj.dpuf

A Saudi war fought with Eritrean troops?

By: Mohammad Abu Fares Date of publication: 8 May, 2015
Analysis: Saudi Arabia has been cosying up to Eritrea, leading to reports the African nation will join Senegal in offering troops for the war in Yemen, says Mohammad Abu Fares.

Eritrea could be the second non-Arab African nation to contribute troops to the Saudi-led alliance against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Eritrea's president Isaias Afwerki visited Riyadh last week to meet King Salman and other leading Saudi officials. This has led many to believe that Eritrea could follow Senegal's lead - the West African nation announced earlier this week that it would send 2,100 soldiers to join the Saudi alliance.

Sources in Asmara revealed to al-Araby al-Jadeed that talks between Eritrean and Saudi officials has brought them to a common understandings on a number of strategic and security related issues.

Sources expect an announcement on military cooperation between the two states, which would allow the alliance to use Eritrean airspace and seas.

It is also being said that Saudi is hoping to capitalise on the capabilities of the Eritrean armed forces.

Strategically important

Eritrea occupies an important geographically location on the Horn of Africa.

It lies just over the water from Yemen, looking over one of the most strategically important sea corridors in the world - where the Red Sea leads to the Suez Canal.

Eritrea would be an obvious launchpad for amphibious attacks if Saudi Arabia wanted to being a ground war.

Saudi Arabia has built good relations with three other Red Sea states share maritime borders with Yemen - Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Eritrea was the fourth piece in the jigsaw and has hosted foreign troops before.

Israel and Iran have military bases in Eritrea, but as the tide turns against the Tehran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, Asmara appears to be cutting ties with these countries.

"Afwerki's controversial relations have continued to be a source of angst for Saudi Arabia, which is just a strip of sea away from Eritrea," said one Arab diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous.

     Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis.


"Saudi Arabia worries when Eritrean-Israeli relations progressed, which led to... the presence of Israeli bases in Dahlak and other Eritrean islands just off the Saudi coast. Relations between the two countries hit their lowest level."

Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis during the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

However, observers believe that Afwerki's visit to Riyadh has turned the tables and that Eritrea might be sending signals to the US that it is eager to be friends.

Influential groups in Eritrea have been suspected of supporting Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

Some African diplomats were not surprised by the turnaround. Gulf nations were said to have been heavily involved in negotiations with African countries allied to Asmara in the build up to the visit.

Qatar has been effective in leading talks between Eritrea and some of its hostile neighbours.

The diplomats believe that the talks with Saudi Arabia is an attempt by Asmara to break its international isolation.

This has been enforced through UN resolution 1907, which imposed sanctions on Eritrea over its role in Somalia and refusal to pull its troops out of Djibouti.

With 200,000 soldiers and 12,000 naval personnel, and commanders experienced from Eritrea's war with Ethiopia, the country could provide the backbone of a coalition invasion force.

The fact that they are ruled by an absolute dictator and dissent in the country has been crushed, then Eritrea would not be faced with a repeat of the Pakistani parliament's refusal to engage in Saudi's war in Yemen.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

- See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/5/8/a-saudi-war-fought-with-eritrean-troops-#sthash.2ReOM9Uj.dpuf

A Saudi war fought with Eritrean troops?

By: Mohammad Abu Fares Date of publication: 8 May, 2015
Analysis: Saudi Arabia has been cosying up to Eritrea, leading to reports the African nation will join Senegal in offering troops for the war in Yemen, says Mohammad Abu Fares.

Eritrea could be the second non-Arab African nation to contribute troops to the Saudi-led alliance against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Eritrea's president Isaias Afwerki visited Riyadh last week to meet King Salman and other leading Saudi officials. This has led many to believe that Eritrea could follow Senegal's lead - the West African nation announced earlier this week that it would send 2,100 soldiers to join the Saudi alliance.

Sources in Asmara revealed to al-Araby al-Jadeed that talks between Eritrean and Saudi officials has brought them to a common understandings on a number of strategic and security related issues.

Sources expect an announcement on military cooperation between the two states, which would allow the alliance to use Eritrean airspace and seas.

It is also being said that Saudi is hoping to capitalise on the capabilities of the Eritrean armed forces.

Strategically important

Eritrea occupies an important geographically location on the Horn of Africa.

It lies just over the water from Yemen, looking over one of the most strategically important sea corridors in the world - where the Red Sea leads to the Suez Canal.

Eritrea would be an obvious launchpad for amphibious attacks if Saudi Arabia wanted to being a ground war.

Saudi Arabia has built good relations with three other Red Sea states share maritime borders with Yemen - Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Eritrea was the fourth piece in the jigsaw and has hosted foreign troops before.

Israel and Iran have military bases in Eritrea, but as the tide turns against the Tehran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, Asmara appears to be cutting ties with these countries.

"Afwerki's controversial relations have continued to be a source of angst for Saudi Arabia, which is just a strip of sea away from Eritrea," said one Arab diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous.

     Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis.


"Saudi Arabia worries when Eritrean-Israeli relations progressed, which led to... the presence of Israeli bases in Dahlak and other Eritrean islands just off the Saudi coast. Relations between the two countries hit their lowest level."

Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis during the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

However, observers believe that Afwerki's visit to Riyadh has turned the tables and that Eritrea might be sending signals to the US that it is eager to be friends.

Influential groups in Eritrea have been suspected of supporting Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

Some African diplomats were not surprised by the turnaround. Gulf nations were said to have been heavily involved in negotiations with African countries allied to Asmara in the build up to the visit.

Qatar has been effective in leading talks between Eritrea and some of its hostile neighbours.

The diplomats believe that the talks with Saudi Arabia is an attempt by Asmara to break its international isolation.

This has been enforced through UN resolution 1907, which imposed sanctions on Eritrea over its role in Somalia and refusal to pull its troops out of Djibouti.

With 200,000 soldiers and 12,000 naval personnel, and commanders experienced from Eritrea's war with Ethiopia, the country could provide the backbone of a coalition invasion force.

The fact that they are ruled by an absolute dictator and dissent in the country has been crushed, then Eritrea would not be faced with a repeat of the Pakistani parliament's refusal to engage in Saudi's war in Yemen.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

- See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/5/8/a-saudi-war-fought-with-eritrean-troops-#sthash.pklE9cBC.dpuf

A Saudi war fought with Eritrean troops?

Mohammad Abu Fares Date of publication: 8 May, 2015
Analysis: Saudi Arabia has been cosying up to Eritrea, leading to reports the African nation will join Senegal in offering troops for the war in Yemen, says Mohammad Abu Fares.

Eritrea could be the second non-Arab African nation to contribute troops to the Saudi-led alliance against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Eritrea's president Isaias Afwerki visited Riyadh last week to meet King Salman and other leading Saudi officials. This has led many to believe that Eritrea could follow Senegal's lead - the West African nation announced earlier this week that it would send 2,100 soldiers to join the Saudi alliance.

Sources in Asmara revealed to al-Araby al-Jadeed that talks between Eritrean and Saudi officials has brought them to a common understandings on a number of strategic and security related issues.

Sources expect an announcement on military cooperation between the two states, which would allow the alliance to use Eritrean airspace and seas.

It is also being said that Saudi is hoping to capitalise on the capabilities of the Eritrean armed forces.

Strategically important

Eritrea occupies an important geographically location on the Horn of Africa.

It lies just over the water from Yemen, looking over one of the most strategically important sea corridors in the world - where the Red Sea leads to the Suez Canal.

Eritrea would be an obvious launchpad for amphibious attacks if Saudi Arabia wanted to being a ground war.

Saudi Arabia has built good relations with three other Red Sea states share maritime borders with Yemen - Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Eritrea was the fourth piece in the jigsaw and has hosted foreign troops before.

Israel and Iran have military bases in Eritrea, but as the tide turns against the Tehran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, Asmara appears to be cutting ties with these countries.

"Afwerki's controversial relations have continued to be a source of angst for Saudi Arabia, which is just a strip of sea away from Eritrea," said one Arab diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous.

     Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis.http://goo.gl/UtXjhh&via=alaraby_en" class="TweetIcon">


"Saudi Arabia worries when Eritrean-Israeli relations progressed, which led to... the presence of Israeli bases in Dahlak and other Eritrean islands just off the Saudi coast. Relations between the two countries hit their lowest level."

Eritrea was said to be, secretly at least, on the side of ally Iran and the Houthis during the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

However, observers believe that Afwerki's visit to Riyadh has turned the tables and that Eritrea might be sending signals to the US that it is eager to be friends.

Influential groups in Eritrea have been suspected of supporting Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

Some African diplomats were not surprised by the turnaround. Gulf nations were said to have been heavily involved in negotiations with African countries allied to Asmara in the build up to the visit.

Qatar has been effective in leading talks between Eritrea and some of its hostile neighbours.

The diplomats believe that the talks with Saudi Arabia is an attempt by Asmara to break its international isolation.

This has been enforced through UN resolution 1907, which imposed sanctions on Eritrea over its role in Somalia and refusal to pull its troops out of Djibouti.

With 200,000 soldiers and 12,000 naval personnel, and commanders experienced from Eritrea's war with Ethiopia, the country could provide the backbone of a coalition invasion force.

The fact that they are ruled by an absolute dictator and dissent in the country has been crushed, then Eritrea would not be faced with a repeat of the Pakistani parliament's refusal to engage in Saudi's war in Yemen.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

- See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/5/8/a-saudi-war-fought-with-eritrean-troops-#sthash.pklE9cBC.dpuf

A March To San Fransisco Hall

Wednesday, 06 May 2015 23:03 Written by

demo may 11 1

Italy says 10 migrants die, 5,800 rescued in ongoing mission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rome: Another 5,800 migrants desperate to reach Europe were rescued this weekend as they tried to cross the Mediterranean on rickety boats, more than 2,150 of them on Sunday, the Italian coastguard said.

 

The number rescued this weekend was one of the highest recorded in recent years, raising fears that the tide of people risking their lives to reach Europe from Africa and the Middle East has not been slowed by recent disasters.

On April 12 and 13 alone, more than 6,000 people were rescued.

Not all those trying to reach Europe made it, as the bodies of eight migrants were found on board two of the vessels on Sunday, the coastguard said.

It was unclear how they died, but migrants face many dangers and extreme conditions on board overcrowded, flimsy vessels that set sail from Libya to Italy.

Two other people drowned after they jumped into the sea to rush towards the rescue teams, the coastguard said.

Sunday`s rescues came as the Libyan coastguard intercepted five boats carrying 500 people and ordered them to return.

Another 50 migrants reached the Italian island of Lampedusa, the closest to north Africa`s shores, on Sunday.

The Italian navy said its patrol ship Bettica picked up more than 570 migrants from four vessels on Sunday, among them some 60 women and around 15 children.

The MV Phoenix, a ship operated by the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), also rescued 369 on Sunday, a day after setting sail from Malta for a six-month aid mission, MSF said.

Meanwhile the Libyan coastguard intercepted five boats with some 500 people on board, some eight nautical miles off the coast, and ordered them to head back for the city of Misrata east of the capital Tripoli.

Colonel Reda Issa of the Libyan coastguard told AFP that most of the migrants were Africans. He did not say what would happen to those intercepted, but Libya has a detention centre for migrants in Misrata.People smugglers have taken advantage of the chaos gripping Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

On April 19, some 750 migrants were killed when their trawler sank between Libya and southern Italy, sparking global outrage and demands for action.

Four days later EU leaders tripled the bloc`s budget for patrols off Libya.

EU leaders are now seeking UN Security Council approval for military action against smugglers in chaos-ridden Libya. But rights groups have blasted the Europe for focusing on patrols rather than humanitarian efforts.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has also urged the European Union to refrain from resorting to force.

Video released by the Italian coastguard on Sunday showed people crammed onto a small boat. The migrants are later seen clambering aboard a rescue vessel.

Saturday`s operations in the Mediterranean involved four Italian coastguard vessels, two Italian navy ships and two customs boats, as well as four cargo ships and tugs.

French patrol boat Commandant Birot, which was sent last week to boost the EU`s Operation Triton patrols dealing with the influx of migrant boats, also picked up 219 people off the coast of Libya Saturday.

Most of the migrants rescued Saturday were being taken to Sicily or southern Italy, while some had already landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

However two suspected people traffickers were to be handed over to police at the port of Crotone in Calabria in southern Italy.

Several hundred migrants, mostly Africans but also including many fleeing the civil war in Syria, set out from Libya every day, hoping to make it to Europe to start a new life.

The number of migrants entering the EU illegally in 2014 almost tripled to 276,000, according to Frontex, nearly 220,000 of them arriving via the Mediterranean.

Some 1,750 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean to Europe this year, 30 times more than during the same period in 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.

AFP

EU plans to provide Eritrea's oppressive regime with new funding

 

PUBLISHED ON TUESDAY 28 APRIL 2015. UPDATED ON MONDAY 27 APRIL 2015.

Reporters Without Borders calls on the European Union to condition additional aid to Eritrea via the European Development Fund (EDF) on a significant improvement in fundamental freedoms, including freedom of information.

The EDF is the main instrument for EU development assistance. Under the 11th EDF, the EU’s Eritrean “partner” is to get 312 million euros in aid between now and 2020 – three times what it was awarded in 2009 for the following five years – although it continues to flout freedom of expression and information, and human rights in general.

An Italian delegation that visited Eritrea from 24 to 26 March met with PresidentIssayas Afeworki, his political adviser Yemane Ghebreaben, and several ministers. Ghebreaben assured the delegation that Eritrea would carry out democratic reforms “in its own way” during the next three to five years.

Such promises have been made in the past without any significant improvements ever being seen. The Eritrean authorities continue to be inflexible as regards the detention of political prisoners, including many journalists, claiming that high treason and national sovereignty issues are involved.

“It is astounding that the European Union provides Issayas Afeworki’s regime with so much aid without seeking anything in return in the areas of human rights and freedom of expression, although Eritrea’s constitution guarantees the right to free speech,”said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk.

“This country, which has never had democratic elections, is subject to a single man’s will. How can the European Union, which defends the rule of law and democratic values, support such a regime? While it is important to maintain a dialogue, there is a limit to how far you can go in accommodating a dictatorship that does not keep its promises".

“Wouldn’t it be in the EU’s own interest, as the recent deaths of hundreds migrants in the Mediterranean have reminded us, to encourage the development of a government that respects human rights and allows young Eritreans to see an alternative to a future of forced conscription of indeterminate duration?”

Kahn-Sriber added:“We call on the European Union to condition its funding on Eritrean government guarantees for more respect for human rights, including the release of imprisoned journalists who are political prisoners and authorization for media pluralism.”

Reporters Without Borders condemned the five-year EDF funding that the European Union awarded Eritrea in 2009although the situation of political prisoners had worsened considerably and more journalists had been arrested.

Contrary to its repeated promises to improve respect for human rights, the Eritrean regime has become steadily more oppressive and, although a small country, detains more journalists than any other African nation.

Since closing down all privately-owned media outlets in 2001, the government has exercised complete control over news and information, repeatedly cracking down on independent journalism andtrying to jam independent news radio broadcasts from outside the country.

The least critical opinion can lead to permanent incarceration without trial in unbearable conditions in one of the country prison camps. Of the 11 journalists arrested in 2001, at least seven have died or taken their own lives in detention.

Eritrea is ranked last in theReporters Without Borders press freedom indexfor the eighth year running.

(Photo: Italian Deputy foreign minister Lapo Pistelli in Asmara with President Afeworki)

Source=http://en.rsf.org/erythree-eu-plans-to-provide-eritrea-s-28-04-2015,47814.html

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 503rd meeting held on 30 April 2015, was briefed by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the AU on the xenophobic attacks against foreign migrants in South Africa and the measures taken by the South African authorities to address this situation.

Council expressed its rejection of xenophobia in all its forms and manifestations. In this respect, Council welcomed the press release issued by the Chairperson of the Commission on 15 April 2015, which strongly condemned the attacks, expressed her concern for the safety of foreign nationals and called for the immediate halt of these unacceptable attacks. Council further expressed strong condemnation of these acts carried out by isolated groups against innocent foreigners. Council expressed its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wished prompt recovery to the injured.

Council commended the Government of South Africa for the steps it has taken to address the situation, notably the concerted leadership of President Jacob Zuma and the South African Cabinet. Council noted that the situation is beginning to return to normalcy. Council expressed its confidence that the South African authorities would do all in their power to fully address the issues at hand, to ensure that there is no repeat of this xenophobic violence in the future, including bringing to justice the perpetrators of these heinous acts. Council further called for steps to compensate for the loss of life and property.

Council acknowledged that the incidents that have taken place in South Africa are a reflection of larger social, economic and political challenges facing the continent, which are further reflected in the attempts by African migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, notably through Libya, with the attendant massive loss of life. In this respect, Council underlined the need for a comprehensive approach to these challenges, taking into account the constraints of Member States, the imperative to respect the rights of migrants and ensure their humane treatment, as well as the overall objective of achieving freedom of movement across the continent, as one of the main components of the integration agenda of the Union.

Council recommended that the relevant policy organs convene a special session devoted to the issue of migration and its related challenges, with a view to agreeing to an enhanced African collective effort, on the basis of a report to be submitted by the Commission.

Source=http://www.peaceau.org/en/article/aupsc-at-its-503rd-meeting-held-on-30-april-2015-was-briefed-by-the-permanent-representative-of-the-republic-of-south-africa-to-the-au-on-the-xenophobic-attacks-against-foreign-migrants-in-south-africa-and-the-measures-taken-by-the-south-african-authori

London, April 28, 2015

As most of you are acutely aware, there are thousands of Eritrean refugees in Israel awaiting a decision from the Israeli government for their application to be given the status of political refugees. Much to our dismay, we have recently learned that the Israeli government has made a definite plan and is preparing to deport the thousands of Eritrean political refugees to Uganda and Ruanda in exchange for financial rewards and arms. In order to justify the planned illegal deportation of Eritrean refugees, the Israeli government has stated and forwarded fallacious and quasi-racist arguments, such as that the presence of the thousands of Eritrean refugees in Israel is a threat to the Jewish character of the Israeli State. 

We, the members of the Eritrean refuge communities in Europe, North America, Canada, Australia and elsewhere consider the planned action of the Israeli government to deport Eritrean refugees against their will to Uganda and Ruanda in exchange for arms and money to be not only an indefensible and immoral act, but also illegal. It is illegal because it clearly and crudely violates the letter and spirit of the 1951 Geneva Convention governing refugees, and is incompatible with the international norms set by the United Nations, to which the Israeli government is a signatory.

Furthermore, it also illegal because the 1951 Refugee Conventions clearly state that “No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where the freedom and safety of a refugee would be threatened.”

We therefore call upon all Eritreans in Europe and elsewhere, and other democrats and human rights organisations, to join us at the planned protest demonstration on the 19th May 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland, to show active solidarity to our stressed compatriots and stringently oppose the planned deportation of Eritrean refugees by the Israeli government.

Drs. Tsegezab Gebregergis

Spokesperson and Coordinator of the Geneva Demonstration

 

EPDP Information Office

On Saturday, 25 April, over 500 Geneva residents staged a silent demonstration in memory of those hundreds of Eritreans, Ethiopians and others who were drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and those beheaded by Islamist extremists in Libya simply because of their religion.

Jointly organized by Eritrean and Ethiopian civil society groups, the demonstration walked for kilometer and gathered in front of the statutes of Calvin and other historic leaders of the city of Geneva. The demonstration participants were called for a moment of silence by Ms Huda Omar Bekhit, one of the young Eritrean organizers of the event.

victims memorial Swiss2Young Verona Almedom of the Anti-Slavery Campaign, Tedros Teklemariam, chair of a newly formed civl movement in Geneva, coordinated the speeches presented by Geneva city representatives and Eritrean and Ethiopian civil society members deeply regretting the failure of Europe to save lives in its doorsteps and condemning the brutal beheadings of Eritrean and Ethiopians asylum seekers for the simple reason of their being Christians.

The speakers emphasized the most urgent need of addressing the push factors that are forcing so many Eritreans and others to leave their home in search of safety and better live.

It was reported by UNHCR officials that not less than 350 Eritreans perished when a rickety boat carrying up to 800 persons capsized in the Mediterranean Sea five days ago.  A survivor of the IS beheadings in Libya also estimated that the vast majority of those beheaded by the fanatic group in Libya were from Eritrea.